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The A20 is a two-digit major road in south-east Englandmarker, carrying traffic from Londonmarker to Dovermarker in Kentmarker. Parts of the route now followed by the modern road, particularly the first section, was opened as a turnpike in the early part of the 18th century. The line of the road throughout Kent runs closely in parallel with the M20 motorway.

Traffic leaving London at first takes the A2 road; at New Crossmarker in the London Borough of Lewishammarker the A20 turns off and heads in a south-easterly direction, becoming in turn Lewisham Way and Loampit Vale. The latter road forms a large junction, where the A21marker leaves for Hastingsmarker. The road now runs through Lee High Road into Eltham Road, which in early days took the A21 through Elthammarker. This junction contains a 41m yellow box junction. A little over 0.5 mile (1 km) along Eltham Road begins the Sidcupmarker Arterial Road, opened in 1923, and which continues as the Sidcup Bypass, crossing the A222 at Frognal Cornermarker and the A224 at Crittall's Corner. At Swanleymarker it metamorphoses into the M20 motorway.

Entering Kent, it runs past Swanleymarker and the racing circuit at Brands Hatchmarker before descending steeply from the North Downsmarker escarpment past Wrothammarker and on to the county town of Maidstonemarker. The route beyond Maidstone travels East, through the villages of Bearstedmarker, Harrietshammarker, Lenhammarker and Charingmarker to Ashfordmarker.

The section between Maidstone and Ashford, was the only link between the two separate sections of the M20 for 10 years, during the 1980s until the fourteen mile missing link of the motorway was completed in the early 1990s. Part of the A20 in Ashford formed part of the Ashford By-Pass, a dual carriageway which used to run from what is now the roundabout with Simone Weil Avenue to the Willesborough roundabout. Simon Weil Avenue, is the original A20 bypass, but has been diverted to curtail at Canterbury Road. The eastern end of the old by-pass is now the M20.

The A292 takes over the former A20 through Ashford itself, but the road soon remerges as it heads through Willesboroughmarker and Sellindgemarker in the direction of Hythemarker. It takes a sharp turn left at Newingreenmarker (the site of the UK's first motel) before entering Folkestonemarker via Cheritonmarker, passing the vehicular entrance to the Channel Tunnelmarker, forming part of the town's original bypass as the trunk road from the M20.

Just before Folkestone the M20 becomes a dual carriageway and enters the roundhill tunnel where it proceeds along the Alkham Valley before crossing over and dropping down into Dover. This part of the A20 was completed in the 1990s. Prior to that the M20 terminated in Folkestone at what is now the A259 Churchill Avenue.

The route then follows the coastline, tunnelling through the hills and descending to the dock in Dover, where it meets the A2 again coming down from Canterburymarker.


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